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High protein fast food for a busy day: These picks won’t kill your fitness goals

You can eat healthy on the go with these high protein fast food options

Sankt-Petersburg/Russia - July 21 2019: McDonald’s worker holding bag of fast food. Hand with a paper bag through the window of mcdonalds car drive thru service.
gargantiopa / Adobe Stock

Whether it’s your home life or work life, food choices tend to be the last thing on our minds during ultra-busy weeks. Despite our best efforts to eat at home as much as possible, we all find ourselves looking for something fast and prepared from time to time. While fast food certainly shouldn’t be an everyday event, many fast food chains offer healthy, high protein options that are great for when you’re in a pinch. Knowing what to order when at a fast food chain can help you keep on track with your fitness goals without much thought at all. Consider these delicious 5 options for high protein fast food on your next busy day.

Drive-thru high protein fast food

The inside of a Starbucks store
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If you’re short on time, consider these drive-through options that contain healthy amounts of protein to fuel your muscles and keep you full.


McDonald’s menu can be a bit challenging to find something healthy on — yet not impossible. McDonald’s has (unfortunately) removed the grilled chicken breast from their menu in 2020, but you can still opt for a breaded chicken sandwich for a healthy amount of protein. The McCrispy chicken sandwich contains 470 calories and 26 grams of protein. A cheeseburger also contains some protein but contains high amounts of fat and not as much protein as the McCrispy sandwich.


Many Starbucks locations offer a drive-through, making it easy to grab high protein fast food quickly. Starbucks offers a greater variety of high-protein options than McDonald’s, so it might be a better option if you want to have some choices. One of the most popular high protein options at Starbucks is the Sous Vide Egg Bites, which come in multiple varieties, including egg white and red pepper, bacon, and gruyere. Every variety of Starbucks’ egg bite offerings contains between 12 and 19 grams of protein per serving. Even better, they are available all day long — not just during breakfast hours.

Other high protein fast food options at Starbucks include the egg and cheese protein box and smoked turkey protein box. You can find these protein boxes in the grab-n-go premade section by the registers or purchase them via the drive-thru. These options give you a little bit of everything and contain 20-35 grams of protein (depending on which box you choose).


Chick-Fil-A is a great option for chicken-lovers to grab a high protein meal with ease. On the menu, you’ll find the grilled nuggets (available in 5,8,12, or 30-piece sizes. A standard 8-piece grilled nugget entree contains only 200 calories and 38 grams of protein. Not only are these nuggets high in protein, but they’re also low in carbs and perfect for anyone following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. You can also opt for the grilled chicken sandwich instead of nuggets.

The cool wrap is another choice for lunch or dinner, which contains sliced grilled chicken breast inside a wrap with lettuce, cheese, and avocado lime ranch dressing. This wrap contains 350 calories and a whopping 45 grams of protein!

Fast casual high protein fast food

Panera Bread Menu Board
QualityHD / Shutterstock

Have time to head inside a fast-casual restaurant? These options offer delicious options for high protein fast food lunches or dinners.


Panera has recently revamped its menu, offering 21 new and enhanced menu items at affordable prices. Many of these options contain plenty of protein and fresh ingredients, making it a smart option to stay on track with your macronutrient goals. The delicious Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt — made with smoked, pulled chicken, aged white cheddar, fresh sliced avocado, and fresh cilantro — contains 45 grams of protein.

The Ciabatta Cheesesteak and the Chicken Bacon Rancher also contain similar amounts of protein (for a whole sandwich). If you’re looking to get the most protein out of your meal, avoid the high-carb treats like the bakery items and consider adding a Greek yogurt parfait as a side.


Chipotle is known as one of the best spots to grab high-protein meals when dining out. Here, you can customize your meals to contain the perfect amount of protein grams for your nutritional needs. We recommend ordering double protein (chicken is a great option) to get even more protein out of your meal. For example, a burrito bowl with double chicken contains (on average) 85 grams of protein, depending on which toppings you include. A double-steak burrito bowl contains about 67 grams of protein. Adding cheese and sour cream to your bowl will help slightly enhance the protein count.

Hitting your protein goals is easy

Asier Romero / Shutterstock

Don’t let those busy days hold you back from eating enough protein to achieve your fitness goals. These 5 easy fast food chains are perfect for grabbing high-protein meals when you don’t have time to cook. Soon, you’ll find your favorite high protein fast food to make busy weeks a bit simplier.

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Emily Caldwell
Emily is a freelance writer with a special focus on health, fitness, lifestyle, food, and nutrition topics. She holds a B.S…
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